Welcome back to Muse Monday, where you will find essays, photos, or wise sayings to entice the muse to come by and whisper in your ear!
A true subcreator recognizes the greater reality behind his or her creation. You can’t bring forth a true secondary creation without acknowledging the primary creation that allows it to exist. And each of us is a part of that primary creation on which Middle-earth is founded. Rather than provide escapism, a subcreation leads us deeper into the reality of that tiny corner of primary creation from which it springs.
So ends the first section of Trudy G. Shaw’s meditation on the power of sub-creation. She offers many insights into the discovery of Middle-earth and Tolkien’s particular way of writing, which other writers would do well to emulate to bring their own worlds to vivid life. I love what she says at the end of the fourth essay in the series:
So Tolkien, very precisely, told us exactly what the narrator should know, but not a bit more. He wasn’t inventing strange beings; he was discovering as much as he could about them from what sources he had. So what he gives us isn’t an exact representation of what the Balrog looked like, as if it were a picture in a biology book or on a movie’s storyboard. What he shows us is the Balrog as Frodo saw it, and as he later wrote about it: a vision of something so horrible it could barely be described. I don’t know about you, but that’s what I saw.